Tuesday, January 20, 2015
MIGHTY EATS: MADIBA HARLEM REVISITED
Madiba during a soft opening in December but the new restaurant deserved another look since the menu is quite interesting and varied. For more details on Mighty Edibles, follow the local food business via the official Instagram account: LINK
Now that Brooklyn import Madiba has had time to settle into their new outpost at Harlem MIST we wanted to revisit the restaurant's vast amount of South African offerings.
The Isopho Cape seafood soup is listed as a starter but the luxurious saffron and butternut squash flavored broth comes loaded with salmon, tender calamari, mussels and our favorite, head on prawns. Each spoonful was a delight and if one is looking for a lighter option it could very well serve as a meal.
Having a love for pâté and terrines chicken livers Peri Peri was eagerly anticipated. We were surprised that the dish is served retro liver and onions style with the addition of the small African bird’s eye chili, which have a mild heat level that most people will enjoy. A glass of red wine greatly assists in bringing out the richness of the organ meat and is a highly recommended accompaniment.
Traditional Durban style curries have their own section on the menu allowing you to pick a protein or vegetarian and a complementary side. Amused by the whimsical name and presentation style of the hollowed out bread bowl our Bunny Chow with lamb was enjoyable but we did not notice the expected warmth & wealth of spices.
While studying the sides we observed that the Umngqhushu Stambu was noted as Nelsons Mandela’s favorite and were determined to try it. This humbly described dish of crushed corn and speckled bean stew was by far our favorite of the night as the tantalizing gamey complexity of the vegetarian stew liquid had us in love from the first taste and continued to intrigue and delight until the very end.
Our final taste of the night entailed the Koeksisters, a braided and saturated donut. The portion was a very generous serving and perfect for sharing amongst friends. Unfortunately we struggled with the overwhelmingly damp texture of the pastry while the actual flavors of the syrup soak dessert seemed more astringent and medicinal than sweet.
The warm ambiance of the Brooklyn location seems to missing but the servers are very friendly and helpful with pronunciations. With a wine based happy hour that begins at 4p.m. and an array of satisfying yet moderately priced dishes Madiba Harlem is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.